We are deep within the season of mercy — the season that Eastern Christians call “Great Lent.” We in the West are fond of brevity, and so we call it simply “Lent.”
But we should not forget its greatness. For believing Catholics, it is a defining moment in the year. It gives a distinctive and necessary contour to their personal lives. The Church marks the time with laws and rites that make a deep impression on our memory and our identity. At the beginning, she marks us with ashes and reminds us that we are dust. She imposes strict fasting on two days and bids us to abstain from meat on others.